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Referral Gold in 2018

Our VP of Marketing, Lisa Fettner, recently returned from speaking at the Xplode Conference in Oklahoma City where she shared tips and ideas for boosting your referral business in the New Year.

If 2018 is the year you want to increase your referral business and make the most of your network, keep reading — and take the Referral Challenge.

Think “any” and “every.” ANY contact, conversation, or connection can be a referral opportunity, so it’s important to always wear your name tag or branded apparel EVERYWHERE. When you are recognizable as a real estate agent during your daily routines, the possibilities of who you might meet are endless.  Have some conversation-starters ready in advance.

Use your expanded sphere. Posting on social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) to keep in touch with your friends and family is great, but what about your sister’s husband’s cousin’s brother? Their friends and family should know what you do so you can be their “go-to” real estate resource as well. Think of different ways to reach this extended sphere. Examples include sending out an email about creating a family tree (be sure to send it out from your real estate email address), or sponsoring a family reunion event.

Make it relevant. All of your marketing/communications and lead gen efforts should be relevant and personalized. If there’s a new single-family home for sale near a great high school or a new neighborhood park, send that information to the families in your network vs. a young single person. Simply put, people value information and resources that are relevant and tailored to them.

Be prepared for not-so-chance encounters. Not-so-chance encounters can happen anywhere — a neighbor’s picnic, in line at the grocery store, during a flight, the hair salon, etc. When you meet someone new, you can often pick up on their interests and lifestyle. If it comes up that they may need a real estate agent, don’t shy away from offering to help — even if it’s simply sending them a market report or adding them to your monthly newsletter.

Connect with your local contacts and vendors. Everyone has their “go-to” electrician, plumber, painter, etc. These are vendors that you trust and have worked with for years. Also, partner with your local professional contacts such as doctors, dentists, etc., or personal contacts such as hair stylists or drycleaners. Having a list of reliable businesses and preferred vendors you can recommend to your clients is invaluable, especially clients who are new to your area. It’s a win-win-win because you get a happy client, maintain your reputation, and send business to these local vendors.

You have to give to get. As mentioned above, referring clients to vendors who you trust, and know will take care of them, is key. An added bonus — sending referrals to these businesses will help you stay top-of-mind and prompt them to send referrals back your way. Create a flyer of local vendors to hand out at Open Houses, use in listing presentations, or send to your clients.

Network with your organizations, association, and groups. This may include your book club, alumni association, health club, homeowner’s association — the list goes on. Each person from these groups or association should know you’re the local expert in your area. Host a seminar for these groups or offer to write an article in their local newsletter.

People like people like themselves. It’s true — people like working and spending time with people with whom they share similarities. Make sure when you are posting about yourself, you are sharing your real, authentic self. Don’t be afraid to share that you are an avid hiker, love your two corgis, or enjoy taking cooking classes. It shows you’re relatable and will help others connect and engage with you. It doesn’t have to be all business all of the time. If you have a client or prospect who you know likes to cycle, invite them to a Soul Cycle class with you. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Be the relo resource for corporate relocation/partnerships. Many companies or organizations (e.g., military base, small colleges, regional retailers) don’t have an “official” relocation department. Get in touch with their HR department to offer your services. You can be the relocation resource for everyone and these companies can offer an added benefit to their members and employees. Consider holding “office hours” at the company so you can be available to help as needed, and hold Lunch-and-Learn seminars for first-time and move-up buyers.

Always be advertising/marketing. As an agent you should always be marketing yourself, and in today’s world there are a ton of ways you can do so. Consider Facebook, web advertising, quarterly mailings, local radio, and just sold/listed postcards as all opportunities to showcase your knowledge and experience in the market.

Lead gen can be a referral opportunity. Your marketing and advertising will likely generate a wide variety of leads — and some may be out of your price point, property or location. If you don’t wish to work a lead, consider referring the client out to another agent so you can still earn a 25% referral fee.

Your real estate business is bigger than you think. ReferralExchange matches your clients with 3 great agents and pays you a 25% referral fee at closing.